Williams clarify Wolff investment reports

Jamie Woodhouse
Toto Wolff PA

Toto Wolff PA

Williams deputy principal Claire Williams has revealed that Toto Wolff actually retained his shares in the team due to a failed transaction.

Reports stated that the Austrian businessman had purchased a 5% stake in the company at a time where they were actively searching for new investment.

Wolff left Williams to join Mercedes in 2013, at which point he owned a 15% stake, and he was required to sell those shares on.

American businessman Brad Hollinger purchased the last of his shares in 2016 according to reports, but Claire Williams has revealed that actually the transaction for the final 5% of the shares didn’t go through.

“The reports weren’t correct,” she said in the FIA press conference in quotes initially carried by Autosport.

“Toto, as everybody knows, bought a shareholding a long time back now, back in 2009, from Frank [Williams] and Patrick [Head].

“He then obviously subsequently joined Mercedes, and as part of that move, he obviously had to divest his shareholding.

“Brad Hollinger, who is one of our minority shareholders at Williams and a non-exec director, bought the majority of those shares from Toto, but has not completed on that remaining 5%, so they have returned to Toto’s hands.

“Toto has not bought new shares in the business in the recent past or new past. It was just an issue with a transaction.”

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Williams prematurely terminated their sponsorship deal with ROKiT at the end of May, which in theory should only increase the financial pressures on the team as they continue to look for new investment or even an outright buyer.

But Claire Williams said the end of that deal has been worked out in the budget and the team are financially secure for the rest of the year.

“We terminated it, yet we fulfilled all of our contractual obligations with ROKiT,” she said.

“Unfortunately it was a fantastic partnership for us at the beginning, and we’re incredibly disappointed that we’re in this situation.

“But it is what it is, and we have to move on, and we have some very clever people at Williams that manage our money.

“We’ve managed to secure the funding in order to keep us racing this year, so that doesn’t change.

“It has no impact on what we are able to do this season, whether that be with regards to the upgrades that we had planned.”

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